Sense vs. Reason in Modern Philosophy
Keywords: rationalism, irrationalism, sentiment,
Modern philosophy has often been referred to as a period of the philosophy of reason – thanks to rationalism and the Enlightenment. However, this does not mean that emotionalism was not thematised in any form. In fact, the opposite is true.
An ambivalent relationship to reason may be perceived from the beginning of this period. The characteristic features of the Renaissance period included the process of reformation. This was mainly linked to the refusal of rational speculative reflections subjecting everything, including God to reason (see Bruno). This was contrasted with faith and pure godliness. And this was the message of John Wycliffe, Petr Chelčický, Martin Luther, as well as Erasmus of Rotterdam. Erasmus was aware of the limitations of knowledge (like ← 69 | 70 → Cusanus), and he believed in simple common sense, in faith, and religious sensibility. His Encomium moriae, is a critique of vain education and a celebration of sincere sentiment. Religious sensibility became, in fact, one of the frequent aspects of the criticism of rationalism in the modern period.
The renaissance of religious sensibility was not only motivated by a refusal of declining religious practices and empty, possibly ruined, religiosity. It was also based on discovering the limits of knowledge. The Pietist movement began during this time; the Jansenists returned to the Augustinian faith and confessed grace. Pascal was reminded that reason can tell us nothing about the existence of God. Rationality (geometrical spirit) is too thick to grasp...
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